The goldsmith Cornelys has not been paid for the cradle he made for the king's last child, the one that never saw the light; he claims for twenty shillings disbursed to Hans for painting Adam and Eve on the cradle, and he is owed for white satin, gold tassels and fringes, and the silver for modelling the apples in the garden of Eden.

— Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Does the "modelling" here mean "to give a three-dimensional appearance to, as by shading or highlighting" as in # 5 of The Free Dictionary?

  • Are the "apples" 3D or 2D? Your definition applies to 2D - "painting, drawing, and photography".
    – user3169
    Oct 2, 2015 at 2:54
  • Are these apples 3D? I thought these apples are a part of the painting on the cradle. Do you think these apples are 3D decoration such as gold tassels and fringes?
    – whitecap
    Oct 2, 2015 at 3:00
  • I think so. Paying for something (written as "he is owed") does not make sense to me if the "white satin, gold tassels and fringes, and the silver" are not real objects. Can't really visualize this, but I am not literary minded.
    – user3169
    Oct 2, 2015 at 3:12
  • 1
    I think you are right. Then, I should understand "modelling" as "to make or construct a descriptive or representational model of", do you think?
    – whitecap
    Oct 2, 2015 at 3:34
  • 1
    Reference is to a chiaroscuro 3D painting technique. Silver highlights.
    – TimR
    Oct 2, 2015 at 9:48

2 Answers 2


One way or the other, it means "creating an artistic representation of"—a model. Whether that means a silver sculpture of apples or painted apples with paint made from silver is unclear.


There's an entry in Henry VIII's papers on this where it says "the making of all the apples" so I expect they were 3D versus silver paint.

A silver cradle, price 16l. For making a silver plate, altering the images, making the roses underneath the cradle, the roses about the pillars, and new burnishing, 13s. 4d. For the stones that were set in gold in the cradle, 15s.; for fringes, the gold about the cushions, tassels, white satin, cloth of gold, lining, sypars and swadylbands, 13s. 6d. Total, 18l. 1s. 10d. The silver that went to the dressing of the Adam and Eve, the making of all the apples, the gilding of the foot and setting of the currall, 33s. 4d. To Hance, painter, (fn. 19) for painting the same Adam and Eve, 20s.

Cornelys is a goldsmith, after all, and the painting was specifically referred to Hance (Hans Holbein).

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